View Full Version : Blues 12, Reds 10 and hassle.

26-11-06, 20:11
Women's Div leaders (Red) having won 6 out of 6 with Blue on 3 out of 6:

Sunny and pitch was good having had a chance to dry in the brisk cross wind since yesterday.

4 tries in the game - all run in from a decent way out. H after 10mins L after 20 and H again in the last play of first half (converted). L got the only score of the 2nd half 10 mins in, then a lot of play between the 22s - last few minutes were near the L try line.

Great game to be part of - lots of forward play which suited Blue but some good handling and running in the backs too.

Blues thought I'd had a good game - "better than quite a few of the refs we've had this season"!!! [I mention this only because it stopped the thoughts I had been having in the changing room about giving up].

However, the winging Red coach had an alternative opinion!

He worried me at the pre-match chats. When the skippers toss up I am now in the habit of getting them to take two messages back the their teams - 'keep the tackles down and absolutely no boots on bodies'. I was within earshot and impressed by the way the Red skipper communicated this to her team, but immediately the coach came over to me and asked if the message and been right and did the laws change this season?

He added that rucking players was definitely allowed in the laws, it is the only way to clear players out of the way, that his team was the better team and they wanted to make sure Blues weren't slowing the ball. I said it wasn't allowed, that we had been encouraged this season especially to penalise boot on bodies and that maybe there was a different interpretation in their area. We had the 'what if it's accidental when someone's gone for the ball' discussion, but he clearly thought I'd just invented a new law and told me to make sure I penalised players slowing ball down and that he would be making a lot of noise from the sideline!


And he did!

He moaned on and off throughout the game - not quite enough, or abusive enough, for me to get rid of him - just moans.

He was instructing his players from the sideline to deal with Blue players on the floor because I wasn't - luckily his players and I got on pretty well and they ignored him. I wouldn't let that sort of comment from a coach go again.

From what I heard of his comments to his players, all he ever did was have a go at them - at one point I think he shouted "[Red] pack - you're f****** rubbish".

After the match I was warming down on the far touchline and he came across from the clubhouse for a chat. No raised voices, but all moans. Started with how long have I been refereeing and had I ever played. He had years of experience and was a referee and I had got everything wrong.

I won't go through his list, but he was particularly ante the tackle area and gave the example of 4 consecutive tackles/rucks with Red in possession where Blue were killing the ball and it was only the 4th where I gave a penalty for Blue player going off her feet. I'm thinking how did they win 3 rucks in quick succession if the ball had been killed every time?

I saw a game which had the ball presented pretty well at the tackle/ruck, but the players weren't getting it out quickly. He saw what he saw - and as he was walking back to the clubhouse said he was looking forward to getting my card (feedback card) in the bar - and he got one of his players to come and ask for it as well.

Apparently, he came up with the classic "great game ruined by the f****** ref" at the bar.

Before today my attitude has been that everyone I meet in rugby has more experience than me, so they must always be right. Today I changed my mind!

I also learned a lot about where my tolerance level is for acting on coaches' comments from the touchline!!!

None of this means I had a perfect game, of course - I'm sure Blues got away with stuff I missed :o( and my mauls weren't so good today.

> Is my approach to boots on bodies (which was the initial trigger for this coach's dissatisfaction) OK or not?
> If this coach was wrong, who should be telling him - clearly he wasn't listening to me?

26-11-06, 20:11
Think your boots on body approach is spot on, and you laid it down to them pre-match so they could have no argument. Boots on bodies at youth level is a definite no-no, and we all know the tolerance levels we have as we go into senior rugby (they aren't high, but we differentiate accidental and rucking at the ball from stamping/trampling/unnecessary bootwork). The main thing you need to remember then is that if someone is slowing the ball down, you have got to ping them (and again, if they are slkowing it down but it was slow ball already, ask yourself how much it is game affecting).

As for how the coach should learn, one would hope that referees would continue to referee as per your approach and he will get the massage. It is concerning he ever thought rucking the player was legal, especially as a so called referee.

My honest advice, take little to no notice of him, assume him to be at best a referee of limited quality (perhaps a NFC pass makes him a superb judge), disect your game in your own mind (as it sounds like you have), and move on. By the fact that one side were perfectly happy with you, seems to indicate that your interpretations weren't too far off the standard lines that everyone is taking, and that they felt you were competent.

26-11-06, 21:11
Is my approach to boots on bodies (which was the initial trigger for this coach's dissatisfaction) OK or not?
If this coach was wrong, who should be telling him - clearly he wasn't listening to me?

Alan, your approach was exactly right. You made it quite clear in your pre match brief and fortunately the players heard and complied. Read Law 16.3(f) again; learn it if you can so you can quote it verbatim to incredulous coaches such as the one you describe.

When somone says to me 'Well, I am a referee and ...' I respond with 'Oh yes, and for which Society?' This is usually followed by 'Well I did a Pilkington level 1 course in 1996 but have concentrated more on coaching since then.' to which you can reply 'Oh you are not a current referee then, I think you will find a lot has changed since then.'

As to who tells him about law, it's the likes of you and me in our pre match briefings and when we penalise and card his players for dangerous play. He may not like it but we are now in the 21st Century.

26-11-06, 21:11
Well done Alan. Stick with it because you were right. You will have coaches whinging at you but don't stand for it. Cards are supposed to be filled in by captains (unless other societies do it differently) so perhaps remind the coach of this.
I did worry about this when I first refereed but decided it was more a reflection of their problems. A good coach would look at what went wrong for his side and correct it.

26-11-06, 21:11
'Well I did a Pilkington level 1 course in 1996 but have concentrated more on coaching since then.' In which case you can very appropriately point out to him that the change to the laws prohibiting the rucking of players was introduced in - you've guessed it - 1996!

I have mentioned before that this is a case of changing people's mindsets, and we had the perfect example today. I was at a Federation Conference. A local Level 6 coach had been invited to talk about what he wanted from referees. Some of it was sensible, but on rucking players he wanted referees to allow it provided it was not done dangerously (eg joints, head). When challenged (by me, of course) he appeared to be unaware of what the laws actually said.

This is what we are up against: too many people who WANT rucking players to be allowed, and don't really know or care what the laws say.

Simon Griffiths
26-11-06, 21:11
I'm glad it was you dealing with him post-match Alan and not me, I might have become quite sarcastic. (As I can become with people who are so hopelessly mis-informed and yet still go on as if they are experts). I do of course try to avoid this in an official capacity.

Spot on with boots on bodies. None of them. You will deal with people slowing it down, all that one side rucking the player is likely to do is gift the team slowing it down a penalty. If anyone questions boots on bodies I simplt state that the Laws specifically state that no player may use their feet on another player. Of course being able to quote the Law a la Deeps' suggestion adds even more merit to your comment.

Gareth-Lee Smith
27-11-06, 00:11
Sorry to hear that you considered giving up for even a second, Alan: a competent referee such as yourself leaving the game due to some imbecile would be a tragic loss to the game.

Use-of-feet talk was spot-on and I think that's been covered enough by everybody else here. Please, though, next time you get a similar headcase, just warn him, perhaps warn him again if you think that it will get through to him (increasing the severity this time) and then send the b*stard from the playing enclosure. You'll enjoy the game more, the players will get more from the game and a lesson will be learned by somebody who is meant to be professional in every aspect except for the paid part. Have confidence, and everything else will fall into place.

27-11-06, 13:11
I always tell captain and pack leader specifically that the laws are explicit, and the "authorities" demand compliance for boot on bodies. Players MUST NOT ruck others out of the way. Its all differernt from the good old days, but that's life - we have to go with it, and we will. I then point out explicitly that my part of the deal is that I will blow the whistle if the ball is being killed - penalty if deliberate, and most probably are; scrum if I am convinced its unavoidable / accidental. If "their" player is simply on the wrong side but the ball is available then I expect them to ignore it and play the ball.

By making sure that I tell them that the responsiblity for policing ball killing is mine not theirs, then I am possibly making a rod for my own back - and must actually do what I say. But it does stop them complaining - as long as I do keep my side iof the deal.

27-11-06, 13:11
**Alan - I sent you this on the SSRFUR email, but I'm not sure if my mails are getting through so I'll repost here.**


I think there one thing that I do that has helped out in situations such as this:

*My pitch, my rules*. You are the referee and as such are the sole judge of law and fact. No arguments, no exceptions. I haven't been strict on this before, and it has really helped this season to be much stricter on this. You don't need to be aggressive about it, just firm and clear. Tell them you're more than happy to have a conversation afterwards in the bar, but there is no debate either before or during the game. If you make this plain from the start, you shouldn't get so much trouble during the match

Oh, and rucking players is definitely NOT allowed in the laws. Rucking near the ball is allowed. A small difference I know but it is there. (wrote this before the other replies earlier in the thread)

Don't let it get you down, and certainly don't take any more crap like that. Shut them up early, and if he's pissing you off, tell him to pipe down. Remember - *Your pitch Your rules*


27-11-06, 17:11
i feel for you Alan. i have had a few 'bad experiences', see that forum, with coaches etc. Last one was in a Women's match. I have now been 'sacked' as the referee because i was considered too strict after i admonished the coach and spectators for what I considered abuse.
For some reason, because women's rugby is more sedate they expect more lenient refs.

27-11-06, 18:11
On the point of his approach whilst you were cooling down. You are allowed, and entitled to 30minutes cool off during which time coaches and other Club officials are not supposed to approach you to remonstrate/otherwise. On the odd occasion, this has happened to me, when this edict has not been followed I have allowed the coach to vent forth - to get it out of his system - then politely pointed out that a) I am cooling down, b) as a coach he should be aware of the 30 minute period and c) bearing all that in mind I would be happy to discuss his grievances in the bar after I have showered etc.

More often than not the bloke has either calmed down and is more rational or b*ggered off coz he can't stand being humiliated.

Yes, it is your pitch and your rules, BUT do not get too cocky as this can work against you.

As you go up the scale you will get coaches that want to remonstrate post-match. Especially those that get paid, and especially at the end of a close season where his team may have just lost a crucial game that means relegation and him losing his job (or getting a cut in retainer as a result!). Develop self-defence mechanisms, but don't be afraid to report the guy to either the Club or your Society.

27-11-06, 18:11
"entitled to 30minutes cool off "

Aint seen or heard of this. where is this written down? interesting ...

Simon Thomas
27-11-06, 19:11
A 30 minute or so post-match 'cooling off' period of leaving the referee in peace applies to all involved (coaches, officals, assessor, etc) and has been standard practice / protocol for many years - certainly at serious levels. And if you need it ask for it, and any reasonable person will give you that time.

I think it is on various RFU Guideline documents for Coaches / Panel & Group Refs, etc.

It is certainly common practice at all levels in Hampshire for the ref to be left in peace, although there have been some 'incidents' I am aware of, which need a Refs Chairman to Club Chairman call and the message gets through.

Some level 5 and 6 coaches I know well, will always detach themselves not just from the referee but their players as well for 30-40 minutes to cool their emotions, reflect and analyse. To be honest these guys don't get uptight anyway (with a few exceptions - e.g. Gloucester Spartans ex-coach) and stay cool and calm at all times, however they may feel inside.
But there are always coaches at all levels who are frustrated with you, their players, the bounce of the ball, their own strategy, etc. Once cooled off you can both have a useful and constructive conversation, which may be critical but without the emotion.

Mike Whittaker
27-11-06, 19:11
i have had a few 'bad experiences', see that forum, with coaches etc. Last one was in a Women's match. I have now been 'sacked' as the referee because i was considered too strict after i admonished the coach and spectators for what I considered abuse.

Well now ex-Lucy, this sounds like a story of which we have only heard half!! :D

27-11-06, 21:11
alan - as a coach myself I am appalled at this idiot's approach.

the sad thing is that in effect law alterations/changes/updates/learning are left to individual coach's own efforts. Club coaching coordinators (like me!) _may_ well act to propogate stuff (if we learn of it of course) amongst their club coaches... but its still a hit-and-miss affair at the end of the day.

There are law papers in rfu award courses but a coach might have done one years ago. Perhaps this is a direction that the caoch licensing system might embrace also ... though there is no requirement for coaches to remain licensed once passed... (aside from some very basic and IMO easily avpided caveats)


28-11-06, 10:11
didds - do you attend D&W Referee Society training meetings? I appreciate that it would be another commitment in a busy coaches life, however, it might enable you to get a copy of the same hymn sheet that the referees were using.

I certainly value your input on this site as a leveller to bring us back to reality on occasion and I am sure you get a general drift the other way in terms of how referees are interpreting law. I don't believe that referee society meetings should be exclusive and could be a useful gathering to share ideas. Certainly in our lot there are a number of coaches among the brethren although probably no higher than Level 2.

Simon Thomas
28-11-06, 11:11
We have a level 3 coach in HRURS Deeps !

Tom O'Conner is an active Society Referee on Saturdays and Director of Rugby at Alton during the week and on Sundays.

But in the main you are right that most of the Society Referees are level 1 and 2 coaches, and almosyt exclusively involved in the Youth side of rugby.

HRURS is working hard to involve the coaches through David Ball and RDOs, and there is an open invite to any Society meeting. As you know we have had coaches of all levels address us in the past and will do so in future.

The newly published Hampshire Referee Protocol is for the refs and coaches (and of course the players) to have clear and consistent interpretations.

As for effective distribution of relevent information from the RFU ...................................

29-11-06, 22:11
Huge thanks for all the resposes guys - all read, re-read and appreciated.

Looking forward to next match and better equipped to deal with different situations.

Top forum.

29-11-06, 23:11
1. Your call on the studs is bang on.
2. Don't give up ref'ing for the sake of one angry coach. I personally prefer feed back from the players.

I have dealt with one coach like this in the past and I explained that I never gaurantee to see everything on a pitch(its not possible) but I blow what I see. I also added that if he felt strongly about my performence he should feel free to write to the society and air his feelings on the matter.
No letter was sent!

My last thought on this is to get your self assessed(you are down as probationer after over a year) because this will give your confidence a real boost and will give you a clear plan for improvement of your game.

All the best

01-12-06, 21:12
didds - do you attend D&W Referee Society training meetings? I appreciate that it would be another commitment in a busy coaches life, however, it might enable you to get a copy of the same hymn sheet that the referees were using.

sorry for the delay in replying deeps... I do attend very occassionbally but usually as a guest speaker :-) They also tend to clash with senior training nights which doesn;lt help me - but that is my cioncern not the society's of course.

Your suggestion is a top idea - of course. the bigger issue however is not so much _me _ but coaches in general... I might attend - but whether or not the society would want several or even dozens of coaches clogging up meetings I dunno :-) That does n;t make the idea generally qwrong of course.

Certainly as you suggest I DO get a lot out of this (and the rfu) forum...
I am aware that at times I probably appear rather cantankerous but i can assure you its only meant in the spirit of keeping all of our feet on the ground (me included).

I have attended, or organised "meet the refs" type sessions, but unfortunately they almost always include problems where some idiot asks some highly agressive question about why he got sent off in 1956 and just won;t let it lie... :-(